Bas Geelen on Optimizing the Food Ecosystem with Bistroo (Episode 242)
Bas Geelen joins us to discuss Optimizing the Food Ecosystem with Bistroo.
Bas Geelen is the Creative & Marketing Director for Bistroo; a peer-to-peer marketplace for food & beverages, powered by the BIST Token.
The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence. There will be some grammatical errors below.
00:01:12:15 – 00:01:38:13
Richard Carthon: Will everyone welcome to another episode of Crypto Current, your host here, Richard Carthon. And today I have a special guest across the way over in Amsterdam working on a really cool project that is actually in the food industry that, you know, as me being a fun lover of all things food. And you also mix that with blockchain, I think we have a perfect combination. So we have Bas Geleen with Bistro. How are you doing today?
00:01:39:20 – 00:01:56:00
Bas Geelen: Hey, Richard. Thanks for having me on. I’m doing I’m doing pretty well. It’s a bit of a hectic time now as we’re in the food sector, as you said, and we’re coming towards the end of the year. And so that’s always busy. But yeah. Well, thanks for having me on the show.
00:01:56:28 – 00:02:04:25
Richard Carthon: Of course, man. Glad you could join us before we learn more about all the amazing things you’re doing with Bistro. Want to learn more about you? Can you give us a little bit of background on yourself?
00:02:05:11 – 00:02:05:26
Bas Geelen: Yeah,
00:02:07:13 – 00:02:46:14
Bas Geelen: so a bit of background on myself. I I started out in blockchain back in twenty seventeen. I was still a student. Back then I was doing my My Masters degree. I studied business and then I sort of rolled through a friend into crypto and started going more and more down. The rabbit hole started investing myself and I ended up really liking it and really thought it was very interesting. And so much so that I actually wrote my master’s thesis on bitcoin and about the implications for what you can do with this in the real world and how news and all these kinds of different things affected.
00:02:48:07 – 00:03:26:07
Bas Geelen: And then afterwards, and well, towards the end of my studies and afterwards, I started working as a consultant for blockchain startups. Did that going from one to the other as sort of advising in the the sort of the final stages of of projects about how to get investors about how to present yourself, you know what’s important to have in your business plan? Um yeah, I did that for a while and then I ended up with the bistro, which was also back at its infancy then, which was just an idea that we were putting together in a business plan.
00:03:26:09 – 00:03:36:23
Bas Geelen: And yeah, I ended up liking it so much that I never ended up leaving again. And that was back in the twenty eighteen.
00:03:37:19 – 00:03:47:24
Richard Carthon: All right. Well, that’s quite the journey. Well, like you said, you were studying this and got into it back in twenty seventeen. What was it about blockchain that made you want to study it and learn more about it?
00:03:49:28 – 00:04:22:20
Bas Geelen: I guess just how different it is from what from anything that you do within the normal financial system because it’s so yeah, I think the beauty about blockchain is that you have full control over everything you do yourself, and that’s that’s a lot of control and that’s good to have. But it also comes with risks. You know, if you lose it, there’s nobody to fall back on the private keys go and then your private keys are gone, gone. The story about this guy looking for a 300 million hardware wallet somewhere in a landfill in the U.K.
00:04:22:22 – 00:04:56:27
Bas Geelen: So that’s sort of what you see is what you get. And the technology behind it intrigued me a lot as well. So I that’s what I started with to understand. And yeah, as I got deeper into it from there and saw there was a lot of potential in this, and I tried to combine that with what I was doing for my master’s degree at the time, which was also in strategic consultancy and sort of melded that together with, yeah, with blockchain.
00:04:58:05 – 00:05:29:29
Richard Carthon: Yeah, it’s so it’s it’s interesting, like all the different applications that you can bring into blockchain and yours is one of the most unique that I think we’ve had on the show. It’s definitely a first in one of one that I’ve seen a blockchain application being tied in with the food industry. So you’ve created Bistro. So this back in 2018, can you give us kind of the story of like what made you go in this direction or help to create this company and kind of walk us through where you are today with within within bistro?
00:05:30:07 – 00:05:59:15
Bas Geelen: Yeah, yeah. So what intrigued me about Bistro that is very, very tied to physical business as well, and with a lot of the projects there, sort of, yeah, sort of hard to grasp ideas in the sense that it’s difficult for for many people to get accustomed to what it exactly is. I mean, even if you just try to explain how bitcoin works as somebody has no idea about it, it’s hard to get that across even.
00:06:01:00 – 00:06:30:13
Bas Geelen: And what intrigued me with Bistro is that it’s it becomes very tangible in a way. That’s also how we we started with Building Bistro, our. In the beginning, so we wrote the entire business plan with the idea of whether from a basis of having blockchain be in be a central focal point of the platform and the products that we or the service that we provided to customers.
00:06:32:26 – 00:07:06:02
Bas Geelen: But what we did then is we flipped it upside down. So what you normally do is you see that you start with the business plan, you start raising funds, you sell your token and then you start building your actual products. But we did the other way around because we already had a round of funding from private investors. So we actually built out the entire platform ourselves. And then we launched it and we wanted to prove first in our whole market that it worked.
00:07:06:04 – 00:07:15:11
Bas Geelen: And then afterwards we did the race. So that took quite a while for us, but it was very important for us to do it this way because one of the tests, if there was a market fit first.
00:07:17:18 – 00:07:29:28
Bas Geelen: And we launched it in March of 2020, and then we spent the whole year optimizing and redeveloping the platform. And of course, that’s an ongoing process that’s going to keep going
00:07:31:23 – 00:07:54:26
Bas Geelen: until we had a sort of a year behind us. And then a year later, yeah, a year later to the dates that we launched, we we launched our or idol. So. Well, yeah, that’s the door tangible, having a tie to a tangible physical product is what intrigued me about this for the most.
00:07:55:19 – 00:08:09:06
Bas Geelen: Yeah. I mean, there’s you almost the traditional route of creating a startup and then tying it back into crypto in the blockchain. But real quick, just for the audience at a base level. What is Bistro?
00:08:10:12 – 00:08:17:09
Bas Geelen: So Bistro is a peer to peer marketplace for food and beverages. Now what that means is that
00:08:18:28 – 00:08:52:24
Bas Geelen: at the core is the values that we think that are is the thing that makes blockchain great, which is, you know, obviously peer to peer transactions and contact without having a big bad intermediary somewhere in the middle. That’s also what we started the bistro with. So yeah, that’s been in essence what it is. But I guess what I would say more practically is through the platform you can order, you can order food and drinks, and that’s with either with restaurants or with specialty producers who send stuff over multiple days.
00:08:53:29 – 00:09:17:20
Bas Geelen: Got it. OK, so me as an end user, a U.S bistro, I’m on the website or the app, and I go on there and I can see, I guess, different restaurants that are within the platform. And then I want to order the food. Do I use like, tell me about that onboarding, right? Do I use like a debit card or credit card? Or do I have to buy your native token? Like, how does that work?
00:09:19:18 – 00:09:50:18
Bas Geelen: Well, our goal was always to be to not push the user in one direction, or at least not to force them into One Direction, because again, we want to be we want to be as agnostic as possible so you can pay with with debit or credit cards. And now we’re also starting to integrate. Yeah, we integrate into our our native token, the Beast token, but we’re also integrating a lot more other tokens. So I think we’re up to 12 different cryptos that you can pay with merchants who accepted.
00:09:50:20 – 00:10:02:27
Bas Geelen: So yeah, there’s a whole plethora of ways you can PM. But obviously, yeah, our token has different benefits to it than other are the ones with.
00:10:03:19 – 00:10:17:12
Bas Geelen: Right. So walk me through that. So as a potential user or even as someone who likes hears about this, it’s like, Wow, that sounds really unique. I’ve heard something like this. What are some of the utilities of of owning the native token?
00:10:18:16 – 00:10:40:29
Bas Geelen: Yeah. So right now we have discounts running for being with with crypto, and we’re sort of integrating benefits for four merchants so far in a restaurant and shop holders and for consumers on a rolling basis because obviously it’s going in different steps that we integrate all these things.
00:10:42:28 – 00:10:56:15
Bas Geelen: But sort of the first ones would be that you get you get a cash back, which would actually be a token back discount. That’s higher in this than it is that it would be if you pay with another crypto or with fiat.
00:10:58:13 – 00:11:28:13
Yeah, you can earn beast by inviting friends and introducing new restaurants you get rewards for for reviewing. And then we’re also really working from the whole Web3 mindset where, where? Whereas with the web to now, you’re sort of there’s a lot of free services like Facebook, Instagram, you know, you name it, and we say free, but actually, that’s it’s not free. I mean, you’re you’re the product you’re paying with your data.
00:11:30:21 – 00:11:46:20
We want to go back to sort of to the web three mindset where you you get paid for contributing data. So that would also be data rewards for sharing, for sharing your user info on the platform and getting rewarded with that piece.
00:11:48:22 – 00:12:00:25
And on the merchant side, we also want to start integrating stuff like staking beast to get lower commissions fees as a restaurant holder, a certain premium dashboard functions by using these,
00:12:03:01 – 00:12:15:08
Richard Carthon: yeah, purchasing stuff through a store that you might need like bag stuff like this, just just anything you can really, and that you get an advantage with for free using these.
00:12:16:21 – 00:12:47:05
Richard Carthon: Right. Yeah, so it sounds like there’s a lot of different utilities for the token itself. And you know, one of the things that I’m sure is popping up in other people’s heads and even mine as well as there’s two kind of different user journeys with this right? So there’s the market themselves to the people who are or the companies we’re coming on as restaurants or as food trucks or whomever they want to come on and advertise their food that people can come and purchase. And then, of course, you have your own consumer potentially like to me that comes on is trying to order some food.
00:12:47:12 – 00:12:49:26
Richard Carthon: It can have it either picked up, delivered, et cetera.
00:12:51:18 – 00:12:59:09
Richard Carthon: What are the benefits or how would you say you’re truly different as compared to some of the other competitors in the space?
00:13:00:18 – 00:13:09:00
Richard Carthon: Yeah. So what really bothered us with this and what really bothered the founder, both folks.
00:13:10:17 – 00:13:40:29
Richard Carthon: But this whole system, it’s that it’s very geared towards the intermediary and you’re a sort of it’s sort of do or die for a lot of the restaurants on these platforms. So Barney, that’s in the middle charges very high fees. I mean, we all know stories, probably from fees going from 13 percent on the lower end to all the way up to around 40 percent, which is a large chunk. If if you’re a restaurant owner
00:13:43:22 – 00:13:47:00
Richard Carthon: with those sort of commission fee, for example, is only five percent.
00:13:48:18 – 00:14:11:11
Richard Carthon: This is just the start, because even with buyouts, it takes maybe one one to eight weeks to get your money, and that’s obviously a long time to wait for your cash flow if you’re a very small business and there’s a plethora of stuff, stuff like that. You know, it’s generally just becomes very cumbersome to be to have to depend on this party that’s in between you and your end customer.
00:14:12:14 – 00:14:21:24
Richard Carthon: So real quick on that. Just just to clarify, so you’re saying that other platforms, if you are on them, can take one to eight weeks to even get your money back that you’re owed?
00:14:22:20 – 00:14:38:04
Richard Carthon: Yeah, yeah. They function as banks, essentially, so they have a bank license and they the customer pays them and then they pay you. But else is, for example, it’s it’s direct payments, so we don’t touch it and go straight to a bank account.
00:14:40:01 – 00:14:43:01
Richard Carthon: So there’s a lot of these cases where where you’re
00:14:43:03 – 00:14:46:12
Richard Carthon: faster and cheaper. So sorry, I just want to point that out. So it’s faster and cheaper.
00:14:46:26 – 00:15:25:24
Richard Carthon: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And you’re in charge of all your own stuff. So we give the merchant we literally give them the tools to run your own business. Like you don’t need to come to us to change their menu item or if you have something out of stock, or even if you want to run a discount to make a coupon or something like that, the merchant can all do this themselves. And that’s not the case with other platforms, and that’s sort of a that’s a win win, essentially, because that’s also what allows us to have these low fees, right? Because we’re taking out a lot of the overheads that the other platforms have that we don’t have now.
00:15:26:27 – 00:15:29:10
Richard Carthon: So in that sense, it’s a win win.
00:15:31:18 – 00:16:11:10
Yeah, and that technically could also translate to the end consumer. I mean, if they have lower costs, they could charge lower on the consumer side. But what we’ve also been seeing on that end is that consumers really care once they find out how our business model works, that they would much rather order through us than through a platform to just charge them these high fees. So it’s a it’s it’s something that flows through that to the consumer that’s not directly a benefit to them, but is a benefit for their favorite restaurants, you know? Yeah, absolutely.
00:16:11:26 – 00:16:27:13
In the end, what we want to make it is, is that we get to a point where we can have a fully customizable platform for each consumer. So if you do provide your data, we can, for example, recommend you restaurants that fit within the pattern that you’re ordering with.
00:16:28:12 – 00:17:03:16
Bas Geelen: Right. And I think I guess one more wrinkle to throw into this as well, because I saw that they all see on your platform, there could also be deliveries, right? So then you also have your delivery people as well. So is it that is it for them. They’re also being able to see payments come in as fast and they’re not getting crushed by fees as well. So it’s kind of all three within the paradigm are able to move faster, get paid quicker and everyone has a little bit more control over what they’re able to set up as like a business model.
00:17:05:10 – 00:17:37:19
Bas Geelen: Well, on the note of delivery, we don’t do any delivery ourselves, so we don’t have any delivery drivers within our ecosystem. Just because this is again two folds, just because we’ve seen that it’s almost impossible for any business to get this profitable. If you’re hiring these delivery drivers because it’s such a big expense that it yields relatively low income for you as the one who pays all these drivers.
00:17:38:19 – 00:17:54:26
Bas Geelen: And because what we’ve seen in our in our market and in a lot of the markets around us, upwards of 90 percent of the restaurants have their own delivery drivers. So it hasn’t been a need for us to have half of delivery drivers working for us.
00:17:56:01 – 00:18:24:10
Bas Geelen: I see. OK. Well, thanks. Thanks for making that distinction. But all the same, and it sounds very, very unique. It sounds like very appealing to people. So for for people listening right now, they’re like, Wow, this is really cool. I have my own kind of restaurant, and this would be a really awesome platform to be able to come on to. You kind of walk us through what is that onboarding process look like for both your potential merchant and also for potential consumer as well?
00:18:24:12 – 00:18:51:28
Bas Geelen: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And that’s that’s always great to hear, by the way, because that’s the that’s also the crypto spirit. I think, you know, it’s community driven. It’s it’s for the community, it’s for, for everyone, you know, so. Right? Also, this sounds we really, really love to hear and we want to build this as a community focused thing, you know, so we want to do it together with everybody. And that’s also been great to hear that the enthusiasm coming from our community.
00:18:53:24 – 00:19:05:04
Bas Geelen: But in terms of onboarding for restaurants, it’s really rather easy. They just fill in a short form on on our website and then one of our account managers will reach out to them.
00:19:06:26 – 00:19:19:21
Bas Geelen: So far, we’re only live in the Netherlands, so that sort of testing market. But next year, this year, this year was mainly for building infrastructure and building our team. And next year is mainly for scaling.
00:19:21:12 – 00:19:45:14
Bas Geelen: And the goal is to also have this onboarding process, which takes about a day now from the moment that we receive their menu to have them live. But the goal is to have this also be fully self-service. So essentially it’s going to be a portal where they just come in. They fill in all the info they need and the shop gets put life automatically. And that’s also with the aim of expanding globally.
00:19:46:27 – 00:20:00:15
Bas Geelen: Well. That’s cool, um, so it sounds like it’s pretty easy. And it sounds like you’ve already had some pretty good traction. How how are you being received so far for all the users that have been on bistro so far?
00:20:03:20 – 00:20:31:17
Bas Geelen: Hey, cryptocurrency, Drew, this is Steve Miller, and I’m the host of CSI Live show that keeps you up to date with what’s poppin off in crypto in every episode of CSI Live brings you the latest news keeps you updated on the top projects in decrypts everything you need to know to get ahead in the wild world of Web3. So if you really want to stay cryptocurrency, join Richard, Chris and I every Tuesday and Friday at seven p.m. Eastern, only on YouTube Live. So what are you waiting for? Subscribe to cryptocurrency YouTube channel today! And as always, stay cryptocurrency.
00:20:35:29 – 00:21:02:06
Bas Geelen: Yeah, yeah, that’s been really good. I mean, the reviews have been very good so far and reception also with quite quite a minimal amount of marketing. I mean, a lot of it has been word of mouth has been restaurants, preferring restaurants, referring us to others, and because the fees are so low, the restaurants also are more or less hesitant to push us to their customers to order through as well.
00:21:04:16 – 00:21:26:27
Bas Geelen: But I could give you some live data that’s also on our website, on PS4 and on Io. But so we’ve been live since March of 2020, and so far we’ve had twenty six thousand six hundred and twenty active customers and. The almost two and a half million in terms of platform for the volume, so amount of orders that’s been run through by forum.
00:21:28:02 – 00:21:41:23
Bas Geelen: And that’s great, man. That’s a really cool accomplishment, and that’s just the beginning, so, you know, kudos to you and your team for getting us off the ground. What’s kind of on the roadmap for Bistro in the future? Like, what are some cool things people can expect going into 2022?
00:21:43:14 – 00:21:51:20
Bas Geelen: I mean, as as I said, this year was really for building our infrastructure up, and next year is really for expanding that out. So
00:21:53:12 – 00:22:24:21
Bas Geelen: next year as the years after that, obviously. But so we’re now only in the Netherlands, and we’re looking to to scale that up in the next year and go go, go abroad as well. But really, what our long term goal is is to have be sort of calm as we call it, and have that really grow out. And that’s really where the self-service portal lies or eventually also a developer portal will lie where developers can create plug ins for the platform.
00:22:25:05 – 00:22:41:04
Bas Geelen: So really, the end goal is to have a community powered platform that just is the infrastructure that food users so restaurants as well as customers anywhere in the world can use to order their food again. Low, low fees.
00:22:42:18 – 00:23:18:03
Bas Geelen: Sure. So that’s exciting. Everyone listening, make sure you go check that out. I know I’m looking forward to when it expands in my neighborhood and I’ll be looking out for it. But you know the best you’ve been able to give us a lot of really cool information and tell us a lot about these, Joe. But as I wrap up interviews, I always like to finish on two fun questions. The first one is with all the information you have right now with both the crypto and blockchain space and even with your own startup with getting all this off the ground. If you’re going to go in part one, the two pieces of wisdom to yourself when he first got started back in 2017 2018, what did you tell yourself?
00:23:19:26 – 00:23:22:16
Bas Geelen: Um, that’s a difficult question.
00:23:24:12 – 00:23:56:14
Bas Geelen: Yeah, I guess I guess you I guess the first one would be to not really stress that much about what you know now and sort of be open to really learning as you go because still looking back now, it’s been crazy the growth we’ve been through. And if you just go into it with an open mind, that’s the that’s that’s what I think is the most important thing. Yeah. And another piece of advice I would tell myself.
00:23:58:25 – 00:23:59:10
Bas Geelen: Yeah.
00:24:01:05 – 00:24:28:02
Bas Geelen: Probably to probably take more breaks, and just because then you if you were working constantly, you don’t really get the chance to sort of zoom out and look at it from a different perspective. And doing that more consistently, it’s something I’ve been working on more consistently this year. That’s that really helps with sort of, yeah, getting a new fresh look on it.
00:24:28:29 – 00:24:50:27
Bas Geelen: Yeah, I agree with that. I cosign that one specifically. I’ve had to do that a lot myself this year, and it’s been extremely helpful for my creative process and also just continue to have the energy to go and go hard as we continue to build things out. So I appreciate that. But as we wrap up here, what does the final thought that you want to leave with all the listeners here today?
00:24:54:00 – 00:24:55:07
Bas Geelen: Final Thoughts.
00:24:56:26 – 00:25:09:28
Bas Geelen: I think that we’re just at the. This might sound cliché, but I think we’re just that the impetus of really moving with crypto into a more mature stage where we really are going to see a lot more.
00:25:11:14 – 00:25:29:00
Bas Geelen: A lot more protocols where crypto can make a difference and really more real world implications and real world use cases, so. Yeah, that’s something I would want your viewers to look out for and to to prepare for, I guess.
00:25:30:00 – 00:26:05:01
Bas Geelen: No, absolutely. So, like you said, we’re at the beginning. It’s only a decade in. We’ve got a couple more decades to go, but this building built being built out and it’s cool because even if you’re listening at this now and you think, Oh, I missed the boat like I been in since 2017 or I haven’t been in since 2013, et cetera, you’re still so early right now. Don’t overlook that you’re at a really, really cool point. And just get involved. Find ways to do it so fast. I really appreciate all the time you spent with us. What are ways that people can learn more about everything at these at bistro and learn more about you and be able to connect with you?
00:26:06:24 – 00:26:35:04
Bas Geelen: Yeah, for sure, yeah. Thanks again for having me and yeah, you’re more than welcome to come check us out and ask us any questions all around for us on Bistro, not IO and the life platform in the Netherlands is on pause for thought analysis. So you’re more than welcome to check out the source there as well. And yeah, you can find us on Telegram also. And our mods are really friendly. We’re in there and drop us any questions you might have, and we are happy to have you.
00:26:36:19 – 00:26:41:18
Bas Geelen: Perfect. Well, again, thank you so much for being with us and for everyone listening. Stay cryptocurrency.
00:26:42:00 – 00:27:22:07
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00:28:32:05 – 00:28:45:05
Bas Geelen: Thanks for tuning into another episode of cryptocurrency with Richard Condon. We’ll be back with more exciting developments from the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency next. But until then, stay cryptocurrency.
00:28:54:18 – 00:28:55:03
Bas Geelen: We
00:28:56:16 – 00:28:57:02
Bas Geelen: now.
00:29:01:22 – 00:29:36:12
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